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Why do some women have long lean torsos and others have sectioned abs?

Some women, like jennacawthray on insta and freelee and loni jane have the beautiful lengthened long lean torsos like this and some women, like Janet Jackson, Gwen Stefani, body builders (obvious roids) have sectioned abs like tray buns.

What's the difference? Obviously I'd like to have a nice lengthened torso. So is it that the women with super masculine abs are doing more sit ups? Eating more protein? I don't know if I buy the "genetics" thing because it seems most of the 801010 girls have stomachs like the Jenna's/Freelee's/LoniJane's.

I made a helpful ghetto Microsoft Paint mashup lol

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STRESS!!! stretch those abs out! we all have like 13 abs but when you do sit ups and shorten the muscles they grow together, you can really feel it if you push your fingers into your abs youll notice alot of tension at the bottom. get a massage, lay off the sit ups, and STRETCH! especialy your Psoas its what you shorten with situps and connect your lower body to upper body. Yoga! 

There are 3 types of people,I've heard.Those who naturally have long upper torso,but have shorter overall leg length than the people who who have short upper body and the longest legs and those who have both balanced measurements. Or something like it.So there are pros and cons in each type.

I know nothing about abs.

Gina,perhaps you are one of the long-legged/short body types

Then you would have thin ankles and wrists but hefty upper arms.

Perhaps the abs do not have enough space to show up well in a short upper body type due to the fat distribution mainly towards the top of the upper torso.Would be interesting to know if there s any value to this theory or not? (Probably not).

I have thin ankles, I wouldn't say hefty, but not much def in my arms anymore. When I was around 110-115lb I had flat abs with vertical lines like most of these beautiful vegan women. I have no idea if my torso is short. 

I can't really answer that question =/

But I have strong abs and a flat stomach but they only show in vertical strands. I can do almost the same intensity and reps as my partner who has more defined abs. He claims mine aren't "sticking out" as much because I don't sqeese then enough. I don't bend my upper body enough doing sit-ups.

My hypothesis is that I have slightly more body fat (minimum for men is like 5% and for women 10-13%) and the are simply covered....

aaand: there are two types of muscles: rounded ones for maximal power in one rep and flat ones for endurance. Doing 100 easy crunches a day will give you flat muscles, Doing a few reps with added weight might give you a six-pack - IF you have low body fat.

I don't know too much about this either. But I did work out with some serious weight lifting types and I heard something similar to what your saying. I'll use an example with legs. Think of a marathon runners legs: usually long looking (whether or short or tall the actual muscles make me wanna say long legs), lean, thin, muscles are visible but not bulky. Now think of a sprinter (foot ball players, rugby, gymnastics, soccer is like a mix between both, I think): their legs are usually thick, strong, well defined. I remember when I was first working out i was worried about looking too big (HahahHaha, I was curling 5lbs :| ), my friends were saying that instead of doing 5 reps with something heavy for me 10 lbs? Do 30 reps of something I can manage 5lbs. Look up Olympic weightlifters vs. body builders! My science teacher showed me a video of this nice lean woman (obviously not strongman looking but definitely looked strong) lifting and doing more reps of the same weight as this huge body building Arnold looking guy. If I remember from class like 10 years ago it has something to do with ripping your muscles when you work out. Like more weight = more tears = more bulk, but then reps are hard (or something) vs the leaner ones where you do 5lbs 100x (or whatever) until you move up to 8lbs until you can do whatever you feel until you are (or aren't) ready to move up. As opposed to tearing muscles and adding bulk your strengthening the muscles and reducing the tears. And just to be clear I'm not talking like ruppingn it muscles up I'm talking about little micro tears that get healed when you grow a muscle that "patches" them. I got into a car accident a tore my trap.... Not the same thing. Maybe I'm right. Maybe I'm wrong. Idk, but it's something I've been keeping in mind while I work out and seems to hold some degree of truth.

The thing that I always tell women is that it is ridiculously difficult for a female to look like Arnold without an insane amount of work.  That level of size & definition requires a tremendous amount of work & dedication in girls:


I have a friend who competes in female bodybuilding regionally (heavyweight) and she is absolutely insanely strict about her diet & super, super, super on top of her workout routine game.  Last time I saw her, her biceps were bigger than my thighs (and I bike!).  So while it's doable, the theme is "lifting heavy weights won't make you get huge muscles like a man" (unless you're specifically going after that look).  But that's a pretty hefty lifestyle commitment!  Here's a good article on it:


When I first got into shape five or six years ago, my wife liked my results but was hesitant about doing anything like lifting because she thought she'd end up manly-looking.  For a counter-argument, I'll link you to some of the common posters floating around the Internet comparing "what women thinking they will look like bodybuilding vs. what they will actually look like":

Comparison 1

Comparison 2

Comparison 3

Comparison 4

Comparison 5

And of course, mentioning the ever-popular squat routine for visible results:

Squats comparison

So basically, unless you're specifically training & eating to be a female bodybuilder, if you start lifting weights & doing squats & following a low-fat diet, you're going to end up looking like one of those fitness models on infomercials rather than like Arnold.  Aside from body acceptance, the "female fitness fear factor" is the next biggest roadblock I see for a lot of women because there's a mis-perception that'll you'll turn into a big pile of masculine muscles, which definitely isn't the case.

Let me put it this way: everyone has abs, you just can't see everyone's abs.  So what makes some people have a 6-pack?  Well, seeing abs is dependent on three things, in this order:

1. Low bodyfat

2. Doing exercises to make the muscles grow & pop out

3. Lighting

So imagine how your muscles look on top of your skeleton:

Muscle body diagram

You skin is like a fatsuit, zipped up over your muscles.  The lower the thickness of the suit, the more you can see your muscles.  And a quick note on genetics: genetics has nothing to do with having abs or not; everyone has abs (look at the muscle diagram again).  Genetics only really controls two things:

1. How your abs look (6-pack, 8-pack, staggered or evenly lined up, etc.)

2. How easy it is for you to make them pop out (i.e. if you're a skinny hardgainer, takes more work)

Oh and speaking of the skeleton & genetics, I don't know how legitimate this photo is, but this is supposed to be an x-ray comparison between a skinny person & an overweight person:

X-ray comparison

As you can see, the underlying structure is the same, it's just a matter of that "fatsuit" made of skin.  So bodyfat percentage is what we call the overall amount.  You need a certain amount to be healthy; per Wikipedia, the minimum healthy bodyfat percentage for men is 3 to 5% and 8 to 12% for women.  Here are a couple comparison charts to get a better understanding of what different bodyfat percentages look like on men & women:

Example 1

Example 2

Bodyfat is typically controlled through a combination of a low-fat diet, cardio, and strength training - you have to work a combination of diet and exercise to thin the fatsuit out & then to puff those muscles out.  Cardio is the easy & fun part - it can be jumprope, dancing, running, bicycling, etc.  Also, muscles are like balloons; if you do a high number of reps, it pumps them up so you can see them better (but you still have to have a low bodyfat percentage to see them, no matter how pumped out they are!).

Regarding strength training, if you want crazy abs, I recommend doing calisthenics.  No gym or weights required, you just use your own bodyweight using exercises like pushups, pullups, and dips.  That involves lots of reps using a lower weight (your own body instead of iron/metal weights or machines).  Conversely, if you do a low number of reps with high weights, you build strength instead of size.  If you do high weights with high reps, then hire yourself out as a bodyguard, haha.  Anyway, Calisthenics Kingz is one of the best programs out there: (forgive the amateurish website)


Hit Richards is the main guy on that site; his diet even includes Pop-tarts (low-fat Pop-tarts, mind you) and he gets excellent results:


The third aspect is lighting.  Unless you really work at having a low bodyfat % and making those muscles pop, they're usually not going to be "wow amazing" in real life.  Do a google search for pictures - most pictures of people's abs are under some kind of extreme or directional lighting so that the abs cast a shadow.  A quick search brought up a female abs website:


Not many people keep their diet consistent enough to maintain a low bodyfat percentage AND stick with a solid exercise program that will make your ab muscles pop.  Some people do, but it generally becomes a lifestyle for them.  A good example is James Marin - he stays on top of his diet & exercise plans and gets great results year-round: (no off-season, like most bodybuilders take)


I am a big believer in exercise in addition to maintaining a healthy meal plan.  I like to do my calisthenics routine and I also like to get in 30 minutes (minimum) of cardio a day, although technically once you get going on the calisthenics routine, that takes about 45 minutes & pretty much counts as both cardio & strength training, which is another reason I like it (efficient exercise!).  I think that eating healthy on any diet will make you lean - whether that's a traditional meat diet, or vegan, or fruitarian.  But if you want your muscles to inflate, you have to exercise, and if you want to get that bodyfat down, you typically need to follow a low-fat diet (and throw some cardio in there).

I do feel that you need a combination of diet & exercise in order to get the best results for your physique.  You can get a great figure just by slimming down due to eating properly, but you can get better results by using those muscles too.  Since you're asking about female physiques, shape & cellulite are two areas in particular that women tend to focus on.  Regarding shape, again - you can blame genetics, or you can get with the program & exercise.  For example, women benefit greatly from squats for posterior toning:

Before & after squats

Cellulite is pretty much the same way - eliminate it with a low-fat diet & squats:

Before & after

If you don't believe that, then check out these step-by-step progression photos:

Progression photos

In relation to squats in particular, Laura Gordon is a leading lady on bodybuilding.com for that.  She has a blog:


To get a better idea of all of the different physiques out there, check out the "Buffy Shot" female physique blog: (it covers everything from "fit" to "muscular")


It's completely doable.  Everyone can do it.  YOU can do it.  It's just a question of whether or not you want to commit to that lifestyle (which pretty much = low-fat diet + regular exercise).  Everyone has those muscles built into their body; genetics doesn't play a role in whether or not you have abs; it's just a matter of showing them (low bodyfat), and once you can see them, puffing them out with exercise (making them bigger).  That plus good lighting ;)

wasn't she asking how not to get these abs

Oh I see, misread a bit, my bad.  Focus of the question was lengthened torso.  Oops!  Well, now you have more info than you ever wanted to know about how to get abs ;)

Precisely. I would like to get lean flat tummy like exhibit A and not pillow top abs like Gwen stefani, Janet Jackson and I was just wondering why there was such a difference



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